INDEPENDENT NEWS

Clarify Air Combat Force Policy - SOS To National

Published: Thu 27 Jun 2002 02:01 PM
27 June 2002
Save Our Squadrons spokesman David Dickens today called on National to clarify its air combat force policy.
Yesterday National’s defence spokesman Richard Worth told the defence lobby group that “As an interim step the Skyhawks should be re-commissioned”.
National’s leader Bill English said on June 15: “There is no possibility” of putting the Skyhawks back in the air as they “don’t fly” and that they are “at the end of their life”.
Dickens said “For National’s policy to reconstitute the air combat force to be credible the Skyhawks must be put in the air immediately after the election”.
Dickens added: “Four Skyhawks are already flying at Ohakea now. The cost of getting the rest in the air in a fully operational state is approximately $20 million”.
Dickens said politicians claims that the Skyhawks are “clapped out” or “don’t fly” shows their ignorance of their own country’s military affairs.
Dickens said the Skyhawks “were upgraded in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Their air frames were life-extended until 2006/7. They received a weapons upgrade that gave them a missile/bomb precision strike capacity and passive and active air defence systems”. The strike capacity of a Skyhawk is similar to a Royal Air Force Jaguar.
Save Our Squadrons spokesman David Dickens can be contacted by phone at
(04) 475-4117.

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